Cream of Mushroom Soup

I had a palm-thwack-to-forehead moment when deciding what to blog about for today.  Sliced white mushrooms are on sale, which of course made me think of this soup, and I can hardly even fathom that I haven’t written on this one here before.  I swear it’s one of the best things about cold weather.  If you’re a mushroom fan, I promise you will have trouble not eating the entire kettle all by yourself.

This would be a lovely first course for any dinner party (Thanksgiving included), but it’s absolutely easy enough for weeknight dining.  We’re having it with some sort of yet-to-be-determined toasted sandwich tonight, but it’s also great with a tossed salad and a good crusty baguette.  I hope you like it too.  : )

YIELDS:  about six one-cup servings
SOURCE:  adapted from Jill Prescott’s Ecole de Cuisine, Ltd.

6 T. unsalted butter (Land o’ Lakes Butter is on sale)
1/2 c. finely chopped shallots (about two big ones)
1 lb. fresh mixed mushrooms (I like a mix of white mushrooms, shiitakes, and creminis; sliced white mushrooms are on sale)
1/4 c. flour (Gold Medal is on sale if you’re running low)
4 c. good quality chicken broth or stock (Pacific Broth, Swanson Broth, or Kitchen Basics Stocks are on sale)
1 1/2 c. hot whole milk
sea salt and ground white pepper
3/4 c. heavy cream (I don’t bother with this and I never miss it)

1 T. butter
1/2 c. finely chopped mushrooms, the same mix you used above
5 -6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stems

Heat the butter in a large soup kettle over moderate heat.  Add the shallots and mushrooms and a generous sprinkle of sea salt and sauté until softened but not browned, five to seven minutes.  Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for three to four minutes to cook out the raw flour taste; do not brown flour.  Slowly whisk in the chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any flour that might be stuck.  Bring soup to a boil, whisking constantly until it thickens slightly.   Using extreme caution, transfer soup to the canister of a blender and carefully puree (I like to  use my immersion blender here instead).   Return soup to the pan, set over medium heat.  Add the hot milk; bring soup to a simmer and allow it to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Season with sea salt and ground white pepper.

Ladle soup into serving bowls and top with sautéed mushroom garnish (directions follow).

MUSHROOM GARNISH:  Place a small sauté pan over medium heat and add the butter to melt.  When foaming subsides, add the finely chopped mushrooms and leaves off of the thyme sprigs.  Saute until mushrooms give up their liquid and turn golden brown in color; season mixture with sea salt to taste.  Finish garnish with additional fresh thyme leaves if you like (I usually add a few more at this point).  Divide mushrooms over individual bowls of soup and serve.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous, News | November 20th, 2013